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Bad luck or bad management?

(14 Posts)
HenryHugglemonster Sun 04-Jan-15 18:53:54


I am looking for others experience on this and opinions if I did my best by my kitten.

I recently got a beautiful bengal kitten from a breeder local to me. When i took him home he was lively and inquisitive. However from the very first day he had very smelly diarrhoea. He always had a great appetite. I contacted his breeder after he had been home a couple days about the diarrhoea and that he had gone very quite. She said it could be from the change home (the diarrhoea) and the quietness from him settling in more. I had him booked in to see the vet, he had already been for his kitten visit, but he perked up so I cancelled. I tried boiled chicken only on advice from his breeder and then probiotics but the diarrhoea continued so I took him to the vets. The vet have him panacur incase he had giardia and told me to collect a poo sample. I told them that he was very sleepy but they didn't seem too concerned as he was eating and not dehydrated.

Sorry for the times not being exact but my head is in bits.

A few days later I was worried about him so got a quick appointment and took him in. He was limping with his front right leg and at this point he was very smelly but not just from his bum. It was like it was combing from his mouth, body odour. Again the vet didn't think he was dehydrated so gave me some hills a/do for him and then told me that his result were back and he had campylobactum, but not tf so was prescribed antibiotics for him. Enthromysin? These came in the next day as they different have liquid form for him. She thought him smelly was odd but put it down to the bacteria. She couldn't really find anything wrong with his leg.

I was told to give him this for a week along with the prokolin. He still had diarrhoea throughout. Sometimes he would cover it up which he would then get it stuck to his feet and sometimes he wouldn't. It was always very smelly. A few days later his wrist his front right leg was swollen so I phoned and asked them to X-ray it. I asked if they could do it without sedating him as he was so little anyway and I am a natural worrier. They couldn't see any changes or damage on the X-ray so gave him a painkiller injection.

His leg got better but he then limped on his other front leg for a day which then was fine. He would look lame behind as well sometimes. The vet said it could be because of the diarrhoea that he was sore behind hence looking lame.

A week later ish and his leg was swollen again so he went to the vets again and they gave him a painkiller injection again. They were reluctant to give me oral metacam for him as it could cause diarrhoea and he still had. By this point I had noticed some blood in his poo. He had started to have the body, mouth smell again. The vets had said they were going to treat for tf anyway due to him still having smelly diarrhoea.

He went back to the vet two days later for another X-ray and I asked them to take bloods. They didn't take bloods in the end as they said he was too small and they were worried with the amount of blood they would have to take off how he would have coped. They sedated him this time for a better X-ray and they tried to drain the swelling but there was only blood that came out. They sent him home with different antibiotics to start the next day and two days worth of painkiller injections.

When he came home he was really sleepy but put that down to sedation. When he woke up from a long nap I noticed his leg was still oozing blood so phoned the vet and he told me to put a bandage on it and muttered about maybe having a clotting problem. His leg stopped bleeding after I had the bandage on for about 20 mins maybe slightly more. He was still eating and drinking. Later that evening he was really sore looking and I so wished I had phoned the vet then. However a few hours later I went to speak to him, I could see him in his bed but as he was sleeping didn't want to disturb him. He has blood coming from his nostrils and had pooed himself. He was listless and just starring. I rushed him into the vets, this was about 9pm and when the vet came he was taken in, given oxygen, body and head xrayed and given fluids and a small amount of painkillers. He was put in an oxygen box and slowly he started coming to a bit. The xrayed showed nothing abnormal his heart was strong his lungs sounded fine and the vet seemed stumped. She wondered also about a clotting issue and tired to put a line in first to his leg and then his jugular. She couldn't manage. He started being a bit more awake so she took him up of the oxygen as she said he was stable. She said to take him home and monitor him. I was unsure of this but feel that she has done the 6yrs of training and I haven't.

He was still breathing quite quickly and god how I wish I had spoken up and demanded that he stay in and on the oxygen and that she got another vet in who could actually get a line in. She struggles to get blood from my dog who is a reasonable size of a dog.

I took him home and he was still reasonably alert. He was trying to stand up but he had no coordination/ strength so I got him to lie down. I noticed he was bleeding from him bum mad shortly afterward he died. I should have phoned her again and rushed him in.

We had a postmortem done, which didn't really shed much light. His guts were very pale and he had bruising on the muscle from the front of his ribs to his diaphragm. She said it would indicate trauma but as it didn't go to his organs it was pointing toward a clotting problem. I am so upset with him dying but even more so that she suggested that he had trauma and that made me feel like I didn't look after him. As far as I am aware nothing happened to him. In his front right leg there was a blood clot that had gone into his joint and that's why it wouldn't drain. They have sent off another poo sample to check for tf again.

I have contacted his breeder to tell them and my vet has spoken to them. I got an email from the breeder saying they had spoken to the vet and the vet had 'explained everything ' which makes me think the breeder thinks it's my fault. I am waiting for the result from the lab.

The vet said that it all pointed towards him having a congenital clotting problem but doesn't explain the 29 days of me having him, his diarrhoea. It had got bloody by the end and he would dribble bits out.

I am utterly devastated, and feel worse as I feel like I should have done more. Looking back he slept so much but was told that the diarrhoea would be taking it out of him. I wish I had pushed for more tests earlier.

I wonder what you think of the vet being unable to get a line into him. Should she have got another vet in, and do you think she was right to send him home or should have kept him in?

He saw four vets in total and I feel like none of them took it seriously enough. He was 1.14kg a coupe days before he died. Is that small or about average?

I hope it all makes sense.

Please be kind if you think I did wrong by him. I am beating myself up as it is.


chockbic Sun 04-Jan-15 19:25:48

It sounds as if you did everything you could to save him. He could have been dehydrated or perhaps his veins closed down.

Sorry for the loss of your poor puss.

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 04-Jan-15 19:38:02

You say waiting for results from the lab were samples taken at post mortem for histology?
There are several infectious diseases on my list of differentials, but have to admit feline panleucopaenia is right at the top.
If this is the case and the diarrhoea started within 24 hours of getting the kitten home it was already infected when you got.
Did you give permission for the vet to talk to the breeder?

RubbishMantra Sun 04-Jan-15 20:44:37

Oh bless you. Poor you and your kitten. I'm so sorry, the whole thing sounds heart-breaking for you.

You did everything you could, it's all too easy to question ourselves after the event. You were reassured by professionals, who you trusted.

HenryHugglemonster Sun 04-Jan-15 21:00:44

Thank you for your replies.

The vet told me they would send off a poo sample to test for tf. I'm not sure if they are going to test for anything else.
Do you know if it is possible to collect blood during a postmortem to test it or not?
Yes I gave the vet permission to talk to the breeder, the vet said the breeder would be worried as to if it was something that she could test for with her cats incase she was breeding kittens with clotting problems (if it was that).

He had diarrhoea from the day I picked him up. He went in the carrier on the journey home and it continued the whole time.

I can't decide if the vets took how ill he was seriously enough or if he was kind of doomed from the start.

Muddiboots Sun 04-Jan-15 21:13:52

So sorry, another vet here and I can only say try not to feel guilty, none of this was your fault. Whatever was wrong here, and lonecat is probably spot on with panleukopaenia, it was wrong from the start.
Was the kitten,mum etc vaccinated? Proper vaccines not homeopathic ?

HenryHugglemonster Sun 04-Jan-15 21:23:03

Yes all vaccinated. Breeder is registered with a body, although I am aware the guidelines are just that, but yes all vaccinated, wormed etc.
As a vet maybe you could answer, if you had a kitten come in with that history and that poorly would you have sent him home as he was stable or kept him in to keep him in the oxygen box and to keep an eye on him? Also in your experience at that size and age how hard is it to get a line into a jugular vein?
I know of one other kitten from the litter and they seem fine but I don't know it personally so just going by photos but at the same date it looked a lot bigger than my kitten.

AmantesSuntAmentes Sun 04-Jan-15 21:40:12

I'm so sorry to read of what's happened to you and your kitten.

Vets, in my experience, do try their absolute hardest to find a cause for issues but occasionally, it can be very difficult for them to pin down an exact cause. So many things can be symptomatic of such a variety of causes that identifying the problem/s often does seem to be a matter of deduction and luck.

I do know that in tiny creatures, particularly with the addition of clotting and blood volume problems, drawing blood can sometimes prove impossible.

I, personally, would have expected the vet to keep him in on that final occasion but the chances are that it would not have made any difference. Better, almost, that he was able to pass in peace, at home, with you nearby.

It sounds like your vet wanted to warn the breeder of a potential genetic issue and if so, they were acting appropriately and responsibly in warning them. I don't think the vet holds you responsible at all and was just following an ethical procedure.

HenryHugglemonster Sun 04-Jan-15 21:58:05

I was happy for the vet to speak to the breeder as I think it is important that if it was a possible genetic issue that they should know. It was more the slightly cryptic email I got back from the breeder, that made me think that they thought I didn't care and do my best for him. They are probably as shocked as I am though. I am also probably over emotional just now and reading into things that I shouldn't.

Its good to get others perspectives on it as I don't want to get into to blaming someone when it was most likely a mixture of problems going on.

AmantesSuntAmentes Sun 04-Jan-15 22:12:28

The breeders response sounds non committal. They probably don't want to invite further discussion at this stage, so it may be worth going back to them to discuss further, once you've received the final results.

However, if those results aren't helpful and your vet is fairly sure a clotting disorder is the cause, equally, further discussion at that point might give you some closure.

We bought several youngsters from a shower of a species once. Two of them died and it was thought by our vet to have been a genetic fault (these two youngsters were related). I contacted the breeder purely to make them aware of the issue - they didn't even bother to respond! I took it that they were avoiding accepting liability (even though I'd made clear that I wanted no compensation), hence their lack of response.

I'd imagine your kittens breeder is being similarly cautious and I really don't believe their response is an accusation of any kind.

Feeling guilt is all part of good pet ownership. It's a side effect of being responsible! You aren't responsible for what happened here though and it sounds like you did absolutely everything you could to help your kitten.

slippermaiden Sun 04-Jan-15 22:29:48

That sounds horrible, I feel very sad for you and your cat. It sounds to me like a bad vet. But maybe something rare caused the problem. I'm sorry for your loss x

RubbishMantra Sun 04-Jan-15 22:39:45

Oh god no, the breeder isn't going to say anything that could imply their liability. Please don't accept responsibility yourself, you did all you could for your little lad.


Lonecatwithkitten Mon 05-Jan-15 08:28:05

Henry to answer your questions, yes I would have probably kept your kitten in. It can be very hard to get lines into small kittens, jugulars are not often used in regular practice personally if I don't get into a peripheral vein I go intraoseous ( into a bone space).
It sounds like your kitten was very poorly i have been successful with canine parvo, but not with panleucopaenia ( cat parvo).
Samples of gut would be needed to diagnose this definitively.
It is the smell that is very distinctive with panleucopaenia.
Sadly panleucopaenia is increasing again as people are not keeping up with vaccinations.

code Mon 05-Jan-15 20:56:37

I'm so sorry, your poor kitten. You did everything you could. My vet has kept my rabbits in for a lot less and I can't imagine why they would have sent such a poorly animal home. Maybe you should make an appointment to speak to the practice manager to discuss your experience. The kitten sounded as though he had diarrhoea when you got him and a responsible breeder would not have let a cat go unless perfect health. Your poor boy, I hope you are ok

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